Section for epidemiology and medical statistics

Cerebral palsy runs in families

People born into families in which someone already has cerebral palsy are themselves at elevated risk, depending on their degree of relatedness.

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The causes of cerebral palsy are largely unknown. Using data from the Medical Birth Registry of Norway, The Norwegian social insurance scheme and the Central population registry of Norway, the researchers investigated the risk of recurrence of cerebral palsy among 22.000 pairs of twins, 1.8 million pairs of first degree relatives, 1.7 million pairs of second degree relatives and 5 million pairs of third degree relatives. The results showed that recurrence risk was stronger the closer the genetic relationship between the relatives, from 15 times increased risk for a co-twin of a child with cerebral palsy to a 1.5 times excess risk for a first cousin of a cerebral palsy child. This pattern is compatible with “multifactorial inheritance”, in which several genes act in concert with each other and with the environment. 

The paper has won three prices: Publication of the year 2014 at Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, UoB, Publication of the year 2014 at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, UoB, and The Norwegian Epidemiological Association Publication of the Year award 2015.10.30

Read the full article here.